Monday, March 31, 2014

Tobey the Dog

Man, do I make over this dog.  It really bugs me how he cowers and I've been trying to draw the real Tobey the Dog out of him.  This has been going on for quite a while as I would blow into Fort Worth and after a while blow out again but this time I've been more focused on loving up this little guy.

I'll be petting him and saying goofy stuff to him like, "Who's the best dog in the world, huh.  It's got to be you, right, buddy.  You're a good dog because you never kill the chickens."

(There are no chickens here.  It's not because he killed them all already.)

I'm sure you do that stuff too even though you look like all serious dog trainers and rescuers and all really good things but I bet you still do this goofy stuff too.

So that got me wondering if Hitler did it.  I think he had four German Shepherds so do you suppose that Nazi fuck would roll around on the grass with them, wrestling with them,  and telling them, "You're the best little Nazi dog in the world."

I'm not trying to be facetious.  People are complex.  If he did do stuff like that, it makes him even more horrifying.

What Hitler did give us is that German is one scary fuckin' language.  If you watch the videos much then you've seen this guy was terrifying.  Cat and I were talking about it and I told her I thought Russian is also good for scaring the living hell out of people.  She offered Japanese as well and you definitely know it when you have a pissed-off Japanese guy but I still think Hitler did the best with German.

But German isn't terrifying at all and I'm most pleased with a word I made up for Cat as it's not German, it just sounds like it:  Schmuseling - (shmoozelling) - It means something like little cuddle puppy.  I even used the word in a song and I would be so tickled if the word actually caught hold and people started using it.

Ach meine Schmuseling (oh, little cuddle puppy)
Immer ich liebe dich (ever I love you)
Das Hausboot ist kommen (the houseboat is coming)
Zum Fluss gehen wir (to the river we go)

In English if someone wants to be scary, the volume and presentation go up and you know you've got an angry guy on your hands but the language itself doesn't lend itself so well toward being angry.  German has a great many sounds which are not harsh in normal usage but can be made that way when you want to scare the crap out of someone.  On the other hand, someone could give you some rage in French but all you're likely to think is that he will slap you with a glove.  However ... with German, you know this guy is going to chop you up, mix you with limburger cheese, and feed you to the hired help.

Cat's favorite dog wasn't a German Shepherd which she really doesn't like very much but rather it was an Akita.  Cat is exceptionally good at working with animals and an Akita may not work out for you but I do know she loved that dog.  I'm not sure if this was the dog she lost on a trolley car, tho.

(Ed:  how the hell do you lose a dog on a trolley car?)

Easy.  She got off and he didn't.  That part wasn't the problem.  No, the problem was telling the German police she had lost her dog on a trolley car and could they help her find it.  The cops are diggin' it because they get a whacked-out story to chase but they aren't going to let her off easy as who could resist playing with a story like that.  Well, ma'am, we last spotted your dog in a taxi and we think he may be headed for the airport.  (Yes, they did find the dog ... but I don't know if it was at the airport.)

I know Cat rolls around on the grass and does goofy stuff with her dogs.  I don't even have to ask.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Phoenix and Voodoo Shining at Cat's Art MusikCircus

Phoenix J has a very sweet and delicate voice but I really can't say too much about her cover songs as I've never been shy about saying I don't like covers very much.  What says more than I can about her covers is that people quite enjoy them and more come as her show progresses.  Quite a number of the people who come know Phoenix already and this says even more as it's one thing when people come to your show out of curiosity and it's very much a different thing when people come because they know what you do and want to hear more of it.  So it was with Phoenix.

The show was intended to be entirely piano and that held up for almost all of it but that guitar jumped into her hands at the end of it.  I liked that as I was thinking, ok, didn't plan this so let's see what happens.  It was good or I wouldn't mention it.  She was also sliding use of a looper in and out of it but if you're really good with one then people may not even know you're doing it.  Only when they really consider it will it occur that, hey, one person doesn't have enough hands to do that!  Her looper is all real, all live, and very smoothly done.

Phoenix used one of her signature songs as a closer last night and "Under the Milky Way" is a beautiful thing.  It's 'lilting' to me in that the melody goes up and down more than is absolutely necessary to define its course.  That gives the song a special touch and it's captivating.  If you want to know why people keep coming back to her shows, there is a very good one.

The song brings back memories of the Milky Way from Sydney as it looks very different from the southern hemisphere.  There was a scene in "Roots" when the Dad picks up his baby and holds her (?) over his head to say, "Behold the only thing greater than yourself."

That's how it was seeing the Milky Way from Australia which is very much "Under the Milky Way."

Voodoo Shilton is well-familiar with the Milky Way as another of his fields is astronomy.  Yes, do remember that as it will be on the test.

Something I noticed from the show last night was that "Kon Tiki" seems to have made it to the long-term playlist and it's very cool to see these evolutions as things slide into the show.  That also means others slide out but that's pretty much how evolution goes as the show still has to stop at the top of the hour.  It really doesn't for this show but many times in SL it is important that you get the hell off the stage at the top of the hour.

The big moment in Voodoo's show was in something that came to him forty minutes before the show. When the sketch comes into your head, it's so much more than an itch, it's something that has to happen.  He announced that it was half-baked or some such before he did it in the set but it didn't sound half-baked at all.  You could feel an urgency in it from something that stirs freshly in his mind and this is a very subtle excitement but it's real.  That's something any performer wants all the time, actually, but it's like first times for anything.  Repeating it will never be the same but you try and Voodoo is one of the best for keeping that kind of excitement in his music as nothing ever sounds like it's just a recital.

My ol' Dad put me onto flamenco decades ago and I admired it tremendously but it wasn't something I wanted to do.  Flamenco was something for the Wizards of the East which was very much another world.  Voodoo started differently and was attracted to it with the result we are hearing now.  I really don't know how much of his play is improvised but that's part of the genius in always making it 'live.' Every so often I'll hear something and think, hmm, I don't think that was part of the plan but he does it so smoothly it makes me smile and think, oh yeah, that's how you do it.

I get too gushy as I'm not so good at containing enthusiasm for things but that's uncomfortable for people if I make it feel like I'm trying to push them to Mount Olympus.  All of the people I mention here are friends before they're gods but do feel free to worship them as gods as, wtf, they're pretty damn good.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Musical Catastrophe ... in Three Bits" - Silas Scarborough (audio)

The "Musical Catastrophe" is a shot at using three looper segments in the same tune because, well, because I can from what the RC-50 is capable of doing.  It's more interesting, for me, to use three bits rather than one long bit as it permits me to use each bit any time I like and however many times I like.  The other aspect is whether it becomes a beautiful and mellifluous thing ... or a musical catastrophe.  This and other musical catastrophes are available on the Ride the Dragon podcast for free.

The tune was recorded live on Thursday night.  The loops were not live as that stuff is too complicated to put together in real time.  It's much better to build a loop in front of the audience so they can come into it with you but past a certain point that isn't practical or musically valuable.

There are expectations for what something will sound like on the playback as I've been screwing with this bit in different ways for weeks.  I like it or I wouldn't keep doing it ... but what you hear is not the same as what a machine records and that's why the playback gets painful.  It is nevertheless absolutely necessary or you will never get your sound right.

Some changes have been made and the most obvious is to turn down the guitar.  This is getting to the point of high-precision tweaking as every little change affects everything else.  The object is to keep the guitar just on the edge of feedback so you can draw it out if you need it but otherwise it stays cool.

(Ed:  Why didn't you do this in Cincinnati?)

That goes down as the second biggest musical fuck-up of my life.  The first was that I didn't go out to California with Ophir even though I know both of us would probably wound up croaked behind it ... but maybe we wouldn't.  The second was turning the Cincinnati show into a damn Ed Sullivan review.  The follow-up show in Cincinnati was going to go heads-up with that but you all saw what happened.

So all this leads to one thing to me:  try it again.  If it's possible to get a small hall for cheap, it would be worth starving for a month to do it.  Getting a lot of people doesn't matter as it's not about that.  What does matter is a simulcast so I can take Cat with me and you all if you're willing to go.  It's true I could do something similar from the Rockhouse but that's not much different from doing it in a Holiday Inn.  Plus a hall, if I'm lucky, will have fifteen-inch subs and a synth through a big bottom like that is a major beast.

At the risk of another Ed Sullivan show, I will consider the idea of a series of acts but it's paramount to stay to the general SL rule of one hour and get your ass off the stage or I'll end up with another problem like I had last time in which I went into it thinking it could go all night and that wasn't quite how it went.

It's time to see if I can put together a Team Cowtown for support as there's no chance I can do this by myself and for a whole lot of reasons that don't need detailing.  I'm absolutely nothing ... but still I need roadies!

I need this more than I need to get to Germany and I'd give one or more body parts to get to Germany.  Unfortunately, I broke most of them so they aren't worth much.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Bank Robber Guild

The Republican Party has made it abundantly clear it wants a war.  It interferes with reproductive rights, inflicts an agenda of false science in schools, etc, etc.  Of course, the best is what they did to the banks and real estate.

It really wouldn't be so hard to give them a war but it's pointless to do it in court as they will cheat.  Recall how Bush the Lesser got elected in Florida.

You can't beat them financially as they control the banks.

You can't fight them straight-up.  As we've seen their cops will mace unarmed girls and most cop outfits have more armament than the armies of third world nations.

There is another way.

Bank robbing.

So here's the blockbuster movie premise:

You cannot affect Republicans by robbing one bank as they will get the money back from the Fed and then the bill can be distributed to the middle class.


You can affect Republicans by robbing a lot of banks.  It's said there are two hundred serial killers roaming the U.S. right now because there isn't a large enough cop force to catch them.  It's probably not true and it's just another Fascist angling for more cop dollars but it serves ok for the premise that robbing a bunch of banks can't be stopped.

The story can start off slowly as robbing banks looks pretty easy so long as you're not a complete moron. How can anyone possibly be fooled by an exploding dye package these days.  How in the world did this sorry excuse for a criminal miss every cop show since 1965.  If you're sensible about it, robbing a bank doesn't seem all that difficult; obviously, banks get robbed all the time.

As the Bank Robber Guild gets a little stolen jingle into the program, others are recruited and the Guild grows.  They can't communicate via traditional means as those channels are monitored so they use postal mail and in-person meetings.  In parallel with that they create a code language that they recruit people to send back and forth on cellphones.  Eventually the cops will track that but all they'll find is people sharing a recipe for marijuana brownies.

As the number of people robbing banks grows, it will be easier to rob them because the cop forces will be overwhelmed.  They can handle a bank robbery here or there but they can't handle them when they're all over the place.  Imitators will start doing it too as they will see people getting away with it and then they will go after a piece of the action.

And this is where the story comes in on Labrador McMartin, our bank robber / anarchist hero.  He has started a movement that is quickly bringing down the government and the economy and he's trying to decide which soccer match to watch.

NOTE:  If you want to do this for real then you might keep in mind that in the U.S. they don't care all that much if you kill people but they will hunt you with dogs if you steal money from a bank.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sonya and Silas Smokin' at Cat's Art MusikCircus

Things went a bit awry in some business away from the Rockhouse and I didn't see any faint chance we would get back in time.  That turned out to be true for Sonya's Jevette's set and that's quite a shame as she was planning on debuting her piano playing online and she was going to do some new originals.  I haven't said much about Sonya's covers as her originals are so incredible and I much prefer original anyway ... but she does "Rumor Has It" by Adele only it's the Sonya version and she will own you with it.  Her version is just gorgeous.

I signed onto the system at almost the top of hour after about four hours of away from the Rockhouse and a time of major suckage.  I was demolished and was so tired that I didn't know if I was arriving at the end of my show or the start of it.  Cat saw me and said come quick or the audience will leave.  Well ... unless there's a broken bone sticking through your flesh, you don't walk away from that.  I suppose if the bone is from a leg then you're not walking anywhere anyway ... but that's a different problem.

There wasn't even time to get a drink.  We seriously had only just come in off the road.  Next thing that happened was that the stream was started and I was tuning the guitar.  There's starting cold and there's starting completely bewildered and this night would be the second kind.

Cat shot the pic.  Is that pretty damn cool or what!

"My Musical Catastrophe" has been a project on which I've been dancing for weeks now.  Is it "Cool Enough for Cat," a "Cascade of Butterflies," or "My Musical Catastrophe" as each is a part of it but all that's important from that is did it suck?

I always feel a need for a disclaimer as there's so much fishing happening but that's not what I do.  There was never any belief in my guitar playing from anyone which sounds whiny but really it's not as what was important to come out of that was the understanding that it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.  If I don't like it then no-one will ever hear it anyway.  A lot of people aren't so good at this and constantly require 'validation' but that will never mean anything so long as it comes from outside yourself no matter how much you get of it.

So the guitar was too loud and the echoes were pissing me right off.  This is on playback as it was sounding pretty cool when I was doing it or I would have changed.  Your ear can be very deceptive as it works kind of on a narrow beam or a wide angle.  When it's on a wide angle, you listen in the silence of the dark for wild animals that may eat you.  That's not so good for music and you tighten the focus ... but you also make it more selective.  All of this is automatic so the recording can be a surprise as it is an accurate recording, your ear just didn't hear it when it happened even though you were right in the middle of it.

What I hear in the recording is pretty good guitar tone.  She is sounding very very close to how I want her to sound but the guitar was too damn loud and was drowning out the loop.  This doesn't even reach negative cool but there is a way too boring to describe that will bring a better match the volumes.  (I wish, sort of, that it could be as simple as just turning down the guitar.)

Echoes are important to me as there's nothing else that will give the effect, at least not like that.  For me echoes are much more than a trick ... but that makes the guitar very prone to noise and every noise gets multiplied by the number of echoes.  Sometimes I'll hear something and cringe as I think could you possibly do that without bumping every string except the you one you really meant to touch.  What I will do about echoes will need some thinking, playing, thinking, playing.

(Ed:  did the song suck or what?)

We can skip to that punchline quickly:  I don't know.

The song is made up of three independent phrases in the looper, each of which I can kick off with the push of a button by my foot and each loop will play out before going on to the next.  The 'chart' for the song goes no more than this:  start on 2, 3, 2, 3, 1 (long), 3 (long) and out.

Loop 2 is kind of an introduction as it has a simple version of Loop 1.  Loop 1 is fairly elaborate and this alone was "Cascade of Butterflies."  Loop 3 is a bit of a jar after Loop 1 or Loop 2 but that was my purpose as I wanted high contrast.  This is where I ask myself whether it's cool or just clever ... or neither one.  But it is clever, there's no concern over that as most loopers can't dream of doing stuff like this and it's good to push the device as far as it will go.  Whether it's cool is something I'll leave to you and I'll upload it later.

I have prepared an upload but there are two versions as I did it twice.  Voodoo got there midway in the set and he has big fun with looper dances so I played it for him.  That's the one I prepared but now I'm thinking it would be better to upload the one from when I had gone pretty much straight from the car to the mike.  You just can't get any more live than that!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Grooves from Bo and Lefty at Cat's Art MusikCircus

In these oh so modern times, the only people who still say 'groovy' are the ones who were in reform school or prison when the word was actually fashionable ... but ... for someone to get the groove in music is at least as cool as it ever was.  To get the groove, you need a few chords and / or a little bass riff mixed with just the right percussion.  It's very simple but much harder than it seems.

Untolerable Bohemian got his groove going from the first tune and he went maybe forty minutes without saying much of anything.  He would get into his groove and his guitar would go exploring.  That would be a trip that maybe goes ten minutes.  After he came out of that one, he would get a different groove going and go on out there again.  (He can get them going quickly as he must pre-record them but it's definitely him playing them.)

In what I've written here I've been highly encouraging of Bo's instrumental work and I don't want to change anything I've said but I've been learning from friends lately more about why people do not like instrumental music and then I think, hmmm, is my encouragement actually useful to him, maybe I try to promote a direction that really would not be so good for him.

Bo has not at all stopped singing.  He likes doing covers in his own quite twisted way.  But then I think, hmmm, how about bringing that vocal into the original stuff he is doing and then what happens?

I have no idea if Bo has any interest at all in what I write but, what the hell, if anything plants a seed and it's positive then it's probably not a problem.

Lefty Unplugged did not hear Bo when he was playing in the first part of his set with his instrumental groovulousness but, what do you know, lefty came out to start with a new song and it went into a very cool groove of his own.  He was sounding a bit like DD when he said he wrote the song forty minutes before the show.  (DD writes songs faster than most people eat potato chips.  She is absolutely driven!)  Lefty said the song wasn't quite finished but he wanted it to have its debut and the first real play at Cat's Art MusikCircus.

It was grand!

Lefty gave us a new side last night as most of his songs have extraordinarily good lyrics because the man is real poet, he's not just hacking words together because they rhyme.  But that isn't what he was doing in "Love Goes Running on Home" as there was a lot of repetition ... but no more than necessary to get the groove happening and to tell you the story.  It was a very good story and he carried everyone away with it.

After the song, he said he was still thinking about whether to keep it but the vote from the audience was unanimous:  YES!

In other news, there were three lemur babies and one kitten born yesterday at the MusikCircus.  The fecundity of Cat's Critter Farm is growing quite quickly.  We started with a couple of lemurs some weeks ago.  We now have two lemur plantations with maybe fifteen lemurs between them.  The kitten farm is, where else, the bedroom and I really don't know how many there are.  The number of them is my fault as Cat has to buy a kitten whenever she can't find me.

Monday, March 24, 2014

In Search of a Found Chord

Finding a lost chord doesn't matter to me as my interest is finding out how the existing chords for "Cool Enough for Cat" work the best.  This one changes just about every time I play it as there is definitely coolness in it ... but ... it needs more.

Sometimes people say loopers are so easy, aren't real, etc, etc but it would be vastly easier to do what I do with a band.  For the latter, I might say something like bring up the bottom for a count of four and I'll come in on one.  Problem solved in 1.7 seconds.

The above is not how it goes with a looper.  I have three unique segments and the objective is to switch fluidly between them.  However, there is no bridging mechanism in a looper.  Playing a song any other way and you can always make a bridge.  Play a wee bit of musical trickery and then come back in with the new bit.  That's effortless, the looper not so much.

This is not a whine as it's one of the most intriguing puzzles in a long time and it draws me the same way as data processing in which there isn't one person in the Universe you can call.  Solve it yourself or, well, die along with the millions of dollars in equipment your lameness is supposed to be supporting.

The first part of this bit is in "The Beach with Orange Sand" and I have no idea if anyone even listened to it but that's now the base version.  In that one, there's a second segment that introduces the first ... but there's no way to get back to it to use it again.  I wanted to go back to it but as I was playing there was no path back into it that would have made any sense.  That's the puzzle I want to solve ... and there's also now a third bit that's a drone on a single chord because this gives tremendous freedom to go outside the scale.  Voodoo said this is 'modal jazz' and the idea of this is most amusing to me as I see my ol' Dad falling out of his chair laughing.  You're playing what???

Sometimes I think Voodoo must scratch his head and think, damn, how could you play for so long and not learn anything.  But that was the point.  I didn't want to be influenced by anything, that whatever came had to come from inside and I wasn't stealing it from somewhere.  After all this time, I discover that it doesn't come from inside at all, you just have to make yourself receptive to it.  "The Necromancer" isn't an idle fancy as I believe it's true.  Whether there's a Necromancer out there, I don't know, but I do believe there is a shining source of music, love, and every good vibe inside us.  I don't believe learning music is so much the overt act of learning scales but rather it's learning how to be a channel suitable for the music to come through you.

I realize this song is turning into the Cat Symphony but I don't see a problem with that.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Privilege and Panache at Cat's Art MusikCircus

Last night at Cat's Art MusikCircus was a privilege as there some things that happen very rarely in Second Life and this night was one of them.  It was also a night of panache because, well, it's Cat's Art MusikCircus, it always carries panache.

The night was also unusual in that it followed the grand tradition of real life concerts in which you start out fairly soft and then build to the grand finale.  Cat definitely delivered the Big Show last night.

Joaquin Gustav played the first set and it wasn't a radical show because Joaquin doesn't do radical.  What he does do is a consistently romantic set and he's been doing this for about six years, maybe more.  Joaquin's set doesn't change quickly but Joaquin plays a lot of shows, a whole lot of shows, and he knows what his audience wants.  People sometimes wonder why he doesn't shake it up sometimes but his audience wouldn't like it at all if he suddenly did a metallic interpretation of a tango or some such.  That wouldn't be cool, it would just be noise, and it definitely wouldn't be Joaquin.

Bamboof Stillmorning played the second set and I had never seen his show before, more importantly, I had never heard it except for a few songs on SoundCloud.  Something very unusual about Bamboof is his choice of instrument as he plays a Malletkat which is much like an electronic xylophone but this one is more sophisticated than any xylophone you ever heard before as it's a full-out MIDI controller.

While I thought I had never heard a Malletkat before, Bamboof said in fact I had as I had been to his performance some years ago.  I'm sure it sounds like a bit of senility coming on with me but it's more than that as anything that happened before the disintegration of the Galactic Peace Tour could almost be on the Dark Side of the Moon it was so long ago, even though in some cases it was only three or four years back.

It's necessary to be geeky with this bit as it's not uncommon to hear musicians refer to MIDI controllers and how is someone in the audience to know what that means.  It's not complicated, it just sounds that way.  A MIDI controller might just be a piano keyboard.  What's cool about it as that it is that it can send the 'notes' via MIDI, an electronic music language, to sound-producing devices and in this way the piano could sound like anything from a tuba to a waterfall or whatever else your demented creative spirit can devise.  In Bamboof's case, the xylophone is a MIDI controller and this means he can make that xylophone sound anything like a symphonic triangle to tom toms.  If this had been the xylophone you had in pre-school maybe you never would have left.

Bamboof is all over the place, not in terms of being scattered but rather in how he treats a song.  He likes adapting cover songs and he tricks them out a lot.  He played a series of them last night and the style for each was quite different from any of the others.  He also plays his originals and the set closed with a highly-ethereal ambient piece that was an excellent cap to a quite different vibe.

Funkyfreddy Republic and Voodoo Shilton / Stage by Cat Boucher

While the entire show was a privilege, something exceptionally rare in Second Life is when performers get together in the same room to jam.  For my personal taste, this is the only way to do it but many in Second Life enjoy 'dual streaming' in which they play together from different places.  This was not dual streaming last night as Voodoo Shilton and Funkyfreddy Republic were sitting in a barn in upstate New York where they could play side-by-side, eye-to-eye.  For my taste, that's how a jam really happens and they did it last night.

There were quite a few Neil Young covers last night and ordinarily I will run away from that kind of show as guitarists often look to Neil Young for covers because he has a terrible voice but the words are good.  Guitarists hear him and think, hey, I can't sing any worse than that so I'm going for it.


That isn't what was happening last night.  I don't have any musicological analysis of why Neil Young covers work for Funkyfreddy but they do.  I don't suppose I need to tell you that he doesn't do those covers like the record because, well, nobody at the circus does covers like they were recorded.  The way Funkyfreddy was doing them gave a very pretty delivery and was perfect for the vibe they were building.  (Note:  some covers are delivered as recorded.  When Voodoo covers Paco, it is always with infinite respect.)

That wasn't what was exceptional about the evening as that came through Musician Talk.  In a jam you will hear one send some notes that say I'm Ready, Do You Want to Switch.  Then that musician will add something to the jam and then the same switch will take place back to the first one.  In this way, they go back and forth, talking to each other with their instruments.  What you don't see is that they also talk with their eyes and, for me, that's one of the most important parts.

Something that added yet more panache to the show is that Voodoo was playing acoustic but Funkyfreddy was playing electric.  I've got to tell you straight that the electric guitar tone wasn't always blowing me away as he's a bit extreme on effects but what he did with it was outstanding and what they did together was a privilege to behold.  The balance of sound between the two of them was exceptional and there was no trouble discerning every note and every instrument.  It was a really masterful performance.

The show closed with an extended trip jam and these days if I don't know what else to call something then I'll go with ambient.  So, ok, this was an ambient jam and more often than not they're the best ones for traveling.  I don't mean they're good for a CD in a car which they certainly would be but rather in excursions of mind and this was brilliantly-done.  Cat asked me to make a point of telling you how transporting it was for her.

Something that has mystified me and which I really must ask is why don't these guys play out.  They're master musicians and could play where they like but they don't typically play in bars, clubs, or whatever.  I won't even guess as that wouldn't serve anyone but I do think it's interesting and I'll ask Voodoo about it.

NOTE:  it's Saturday and no way Voodoo is going to go back home on a Saturday so it's almost certain he will be doing more SL shows with Funkyfreddy.  Check the schedule today or look for Voodoo on Facebook to find out what goes.

There was also a guest appearance from Frogg Marlowe and the long-time Second Life veterans will all know him as he has played for years with Jaycatt and those two have paid every bit of their dues in the virtual world.  He didn't play as he came because he was curious too but he's a very bright guy and it's interesting talking with him.  There are many things about Facebook that suck but meeting people like this is not one of them.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"On the Beach with Orange Sand" - Silas Scarborough (audio)

"On the Beach with Orange Sand" was recorded at Cat's Art MusikCircus this evening and it was the first one out of the gate.  I've always loved it in a concert hall when the synth has a single tone going that fills the entire place and it hangs there ... until ... until ... boom ... on with the show.  In the tune I do it for a reason as I'm waiting to see on the screen that Cat can hear it in Second Life.  It takes thirty seconds one-way for the audio to reach Second Life and I assume that's because someone doesn't have enough Higgs bosons or some such.  You have to watch out for those rascals, they're fidgety.

I've been dancing around with various forms of these chords for a couple of weeks as all of this comes back to whether it's Cool Enough for Cat.  I know she can hear the difference and she won't say ooh la la when what she really needs a sound like a billygoat.  So it's got to be cool, everyone who plays there knows that.  She listens intently so, well, don't fuck up!

Oh, you think this is just chat, eh?  I tell you it's true and check this.  How much do you think Cat and I send IMs back and forth during a show.  That'd be close to zero there, Gladstone.  I'm telling you, she listens.

"On the Beach with Orange Sand" is on the Ride the Dragon podcast for free.

I feel almost totally disconnected from almost every other Second Life musician as what they do is so remote that there's no common ground except many of us hold guitars.  I have almost no idea what I'm going to do in a set except, well, show up.  Some loops may be set up in advance ... or not ... but those are just chords usually.  This will be a shock, I'm sure, but most of the musicians to whom I feel the most of a relationship play at the Circus.

This isn't about being better or worse than anyone else but rather being on a beach with orange sand.  You don't know where it is and it sure as hell isn't here.  Maybe that's good but going into it you just don't know.

There Won't Be a Revolution

Recently I've been speaking with the Galactic Peace Tour Representative from the Street, The Raven, and have been asking him about what it's like to be in your twenties in a world that's going down the toilet.  (The questions were not loaded like that when I was talking with him.)

It's not a huge surprise but it's very discouraging to see the demoralization not only in the Raven but in most people he knows.  He attributes this in large part to the absence of realistic job paths for that generation.  I believe there's more and I'm interested to hear more from him on the matter but job availability was the first thought.

Another area of demoralization is with regard to voting.  They will do it but they have no belief it will accomplish anything.  I can't fault him on that as I don't believe there's been a politician worth his weight in tar and feathers since FDR.  And Eleanor was the best First Lady too.

Some say the last generation was lost to drugs but it appears this one will be lost to apathy, not on the part of the kids but by you.  You who voted against the school levies, you who sent their jobs overseas, you who has been dosing them with Ritalin since they were babies, etc, etc.

Have you ever heard people whine so hard as much as when a school asks to pass a tax levy.  These things cost peanuts but people scream like the King has come to claim his right to consummate a newlywed's marriage.  What better education than the one that comes from the lowest bidder.

Don't look for activism from these kids.  It's not that they don't care but there is a prevailing feeling of powerlessness to make change.  Their first thoughts are toward music, festivals, dance, and living life as much as they can, presumably before it disintegrates altogether.  This is in part the thinking that comes from being under thirty in which you can live wild because you'll die when you're thirty anyway but it seems more than that.

The talking will continue as there's much more to discover.

Paris Obscur Gets Even Darker at Cat's Art MusikCircus

The California crowd sings of high-school sex in which you sing it sweet and the girls will come.  That works out ok until the girls grow up and that's when they notice that dark man in the corner.  He draws them more because they know he has what they want and he knows about Obsession.  That man is Paris Obscur.

You know they want the bad boys, don't even tell me (laughs).

You can get superficial thoughts on life and love from California but that's much like going to Facebook for advice on relationships ... from people who couldn't hold a relationship together even if they added a case of Super Glue.

From Paris you will hear about the darkest sides of life as he's not at all shy about singing of rape, death, or any of the things that scare the living hell out of you.  He doesn't just sing them as very much he feels them and sometimes he has to pull himself back together at the end of a song before he can even speak again.

Darkness isn't the extent of it or Paris could get a can of flat black spray paint and be done in twelve seconds.  He has songs of happiness and he even has one for the MusikCircus.  When Paris paints it's in much more than a single dimension.

But darkness is what I like tonight as Paris found a way to make it even heavier, he brought an electric guitar into it.  And I mean an electric guitar with hammerhead chords, huge distortion and big, big power.  Whoa!  Who knew Paris did this!  He was doing some blues and I was diggin' it and I had his set plugged into the main speakers so I figured, hmm, let's do a little lead.  I was playing a little bit during his song and thinking, oh yah, Paris Obscur, you are the Bluesman!  Usually I get tired of blues pretty quickly but not with Paris.  Noooooo.

Even without singing, any man hearing Paris talk will be thinking, man, with that accent and a Harley Davidson I would be getting laid every night for the rest of my fucking life!

A young guy came up to me when I was just about to take off on my Harley and he said, "Man, do you know how many girls I would get if I had that bike?"

That's when you just smile and ride on.  (I wasn't chasing anyone but he didn't need to know that.  Let him have that Harley dream.)

Obviously Paris inspires a lot of crushes from female admirers but there's another at Cat's Art MusikCircus who inspires a lot of crushes too and I wonder if he even knows it.  That Cat has managed to find such an eclectic mix of performers is an extraordinary thing as I haven't seen this before in Second Life.  Her attention to the mix of music in an evening is very important just as is the uniqueness of the music.

It would be interesting to see who could be matched with Paris in an evening.  Only a fool would follow him as Paris is emotionally-drained after a show and so is the audience.  However, it's possible someone could play a first show and that could be an interesting combination.  I'm not predicting anything and we aren't hiding anyone but it's an interesting thought to me.

The gig reports were turning into a routine and routines bore everyone.  What I look to report is on when someone blows the top off something.  Paris definitely blew the top off last night.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

So, About those Cover Songs

There are no covers in my set list.  I suppose there could be ... if I didn't hate them.  However, I have discovered this week that my perception of them is very different from what actually exists out there. I still hate covers but my perception of why they exist has changed a lot.

I hate covers doesn't fit everything as there are covers that deserve to be hated and others not so much.  If you're getting commercial tracks to sound just like the CD and then sing the vocal just like it was recorded, why should I listen to this.  I might just as well listen to the CD ... and it won't expect a tip.

Then you've got girls with acoustic guitars doing their versions of various songs and, in the sixties, before Grace Slick and Janis Joplin, this was all girls were really allowed to do ... unless you wanted (cough) to be Doris Day.  It's cool, tho, as this is turning musical.  The songs are getting some thought, getting adapted to taste, and now they start becoming real.

It all starts getting tasty when the jammer goes after the song with the attitude that I'm going to own this bitch.  lefty Unplugged doesn't often do covers but he did one from The Beatles on Monday and, you bet, he owned it.  His vocals are highly-stylized and maybe you wouldn't even like the sound but one thing you know immediately:  it's authentic.

Untolerable Bohemian is also one for taking a cover song and stretching it all the way around the block.  The risk for him is that the listener may get defensive for the song and hate him for doing that to it.  Nevertheless his art is the interpretation and it demands of him that it be done his unique way.

Phoenix J also goes out to own a song.  When she covers a song, she will almost invariably jack the beat around to give it some swing and she will sing it in her own style.  She will accompany herself on a guitar sometimes but I think actually she's more comfortable with a piano.  The orchestration isn't so important but the intention to take a song, understand it, feel it, and then make it happen in a new way ... well, that's very important.

But all that means absolutely nothing to a whole lot of people.

A friend of mine had told me some while back that music doesn't really move him and I hadn't really understood how this could be as I have always thought it moved everyone, the only variable was whether it sucks or it doesn't.  However, that's not true at all.  He told me that he can't listen to instrumental music as it doesn't make any sense to him, he can't figure it out.  I don't waste my time with Tea Party people, he's a very smart guy.  Lack of intelligence is not the source of this.

My friend is really not drawn by music but he is drawn by girls and he wanted to hear stuff he knew from bands where he went.  Fortunately, many girls want the same thing so ... romance or at least some cheap but passionate sex happens ... after the cover songs.

In talking with my friend, I come to understand that listening to an instrumental song with him isn't about taste, to him it isn't even music.  For quite a few of you that's true for jazz but he said it was anything instrumental.  He said he couldn't figure such things out and I'll talk to him some more about what he is trying to figure.

The epiphany came when he told me all his friends had essentially the same sensibilities with regard to music.  Note again that these people are not a bunch of dimwit thugs from the Wide World of Wrestling; they're smart people ... but music means almost nothing to them.  Where it takes meaning is through the lyrics as these give it structure and familiarity and, presto, this becomes a great environment for chasing girls.

Maybe you've heard of people saying jazz makes them nervous.  For a very small minority, it's because they have really felt that part and they're supposed to be nervous but for others it's a cacophony of jumbled noise that means nothing, of course it upsets them.

So, when you're thinking of people going to karaoke shows that they must be a bunch of dumb asses, that's just a wee bit too dismissive, there's more to it than that.

This really is more than just a word exercise as it applies to how music lives and grows in Second Life.  My position is that anyone who has never experienced Second Life is never going to put up with all the hassle of learning how to deal with avatars just to hear cover songs.  Why not just go down to the corner bar to hear the same thing and sometimes you even get free beer.  Perhaps I don't see far enough but I don't see how that could ever be an advertising campaign:  Come for the Karaoke and Stay for the Pixel Sex.  Oh sure, I'll want to interrupt my busy day for that.  It makes no sense to me.

However, perhaps it makes sense to someone else.  Someone in SL hears a karaoke singer and thinks, man, this is just like the CD, I love it.   She tells her friend that she's just got to hear this singer as she sounds just like Celine Dion.  For me that would be a reason to get a can of gasoline and a match but that's not at all true of everyone.  Word of mouth advertising is the very finest kind and perhaps this has been happening already, I don't know.  In any case, there's a tremendous bias toward covers in SL and it's my contention that to a large extent they've been selecting for it and the demographic has changed.

Going into demographics is needless technical gimcrackery as the point is regarding the fundamental perception of music.  My thinking has always been that it is the one thing, well, besides sex, that binds us.  We have had rhythm in common since we were glorified monkeys beating on logs with sticks.  But now it seems some of those monkeys weren't digging it so much, at least until one of the girl monkeys sang, "My Monkey Heart Will Go On."

This doesn't change anything at all about what I play, how I play it, etc.  I really don't have any expectation that people will even like it but I find some do and of course I like that.  What's fascinating to me is that if I were to shanghai various friends to hear it, the problem isn't that they wouldn't appreciate it but rather they wouldn't even hear it.  This is a huge revelation to me as it wouldn't matter how well I played it, they still wouldn't hear it.

My view of music changes radically as I realize all my life I've been selecting for people who like music the way I do.  I want it ALL, baby.  I want all the notes, I want all the colors, I want every dark demented musical thought in your head.  Do this thing, I'll stay.


My friend has been selecting for the opposite through his life.  He and his crew are going to find some leg on a Friday night and maybe the music was ok but the main thing is finding some leg.  I don't mean to disparage that.  I'm just astonished at the vastly different perceptions.

It's not my purpose to eliminate cover songs, iPod singers, or anything of that nature.  However, they don't give Second Life an identity that means anything.  That has always come through original songs otherwise you're just aiming for the Holiday Inn and the traveling salesmen.  It's logically impossible for identity to come from anything but uniqueness so why would people not promote this.

Disclaimer:  this has nothing to do with me.  I'm playing for Cat on Thursdays and I'm not looking for anything else although I do enjoy playing for friends sometimes.  I've lived it when girls followed me everywhere and I was doing three, four, maybe five gigs in a day ... and then I did it again the next day.  This isn't music, it's a fucking hamster wheel.  If people want to do that then that's their choice but I seriously don't recommend it.  By far the biggest reason is that when you're playing that much there is almost no time to develop new material.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Don't Worry About the Wood - It's Dinner

The wonder of science is about to give us, well, wood.  Even better, thanks to a research professor, we will be able to eat it.  (Fox News:  Professor cooks up recipe for turning wood chips into food)

You too can be a fuckin' termite.

The research shows how to process all the wood products that would otherwise be classified as rubbish.  Yah, that means this is hotdog wood as all the parts of the animal that no-one will eat go into a hotdog.  He wants us to eat wood but do we get oak, mahogany, ebony or any premium wood like that.  No, we get hotdog wood.

Of course it's Fox News bringing this to us as who could possibly be happier about it.  Now they will be able write Holy script on the evils of being poor ... and then make poor people eat the paper.  It's the perfect solution.

The applications go far beyond eating the Redwood Forest as any plant material becomes food.  Collect all those lawn clippings and, presto, you have lunch.  You can be the billy goat you always longed to have but were too chicken to buy.

Note about goats:  they are bandits.  (That's from someone who knows, obviously not me.)

(Actually I think it's fairly brilliant what they guy did as what good is it to waste anything but that's not funny.  Even worse, it makes sense and things are not supposed to make sense.)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Kon Tiki" - Voodoo Shilton

"Kon Tiki" is one of Voodoo Shilton's newest originals and there were problems hearing it last week but he played it again last night.  It comes from thinking of Thor Heyerdahl and what he did quite a few years ago.  I guess it was cool when Duran Duran sailed a mega-million dollar boat around the world ... but Heyerdahl did it by strapping some balsa wood together to make a raft and he sailed across the Pacific on it.  This wasn't just a stunt as it was of huge interest to anthropology.  (WIKI:  Kon Tiki)

The new song takes you out on that raft but this isn't during a period of storms and it's gentle, beautiful piece of work ... but you can't hear it.  You can only hear the song in Voodoo's live shows ... or you can buy a recording ... if you go to one of his live shows.  So, just in case I wasn't clear enough, come to Voodoo's live show, preferably at Cat's Art MusikCircus on Fridays but he plays all over the place.  I don't know if he records all shows but I know for sure he records the Friday night performance at Cat's.

At one point Voodoo said to let your mind expand and fill the whole Universe as that's what he's trying to do and he wants to take you with him.  If you stop talking, stop typing, and listen then he can take you there.  I'm guessing he might say you will take yourself there as, ma'am, I'm only the pilot.  He has that kind of way.

Maybe he's an axe murderer in the background, what do I know.  What is anyone in their deep dark stuff.  What we see is his shining light stuff and that's a very bright light indeed.

The Singapore Master Blaster has been Delivered

After over two weeks in shipment, much of which we assume was on the back of a yak, the Singapore Master Blaster has arrived.

The bits were a problem to connect at first as there were no instructions and this device is not something I would precisely define as intuitive to operate.  There is bug juice for this thing to give that precious nicotine tingle and it says on the side that one should keep it in the refrigerator 'for esteemed lift.'  That sounds like a whole lot more than nicotine ever did for me so it's not clear what else is in the magic compound.

I did notice that, as usual, they forgot the heroin.  I keep telling those yahoos not to forget the heroin or how can the international economy possibly survive but they don't listen.  The drugs stop flowing then the CIA field operatives starve and worldwide chaos comes.  Do they want that???

So, the vaporizer is present and is now functional.  It sucks pretty bad but it sucks a whole lot less than buying a carton of cigarettes.  This has nothing to do with staying alive but rather with saving money.  Someone said that death is worse than poverty but whomever said that didn't know much about either.

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Cascade of Butterflies" (MP3)

"Cascade of Butterflies" was recorded last night while playing for Cat at the opening of her new Ruins stage.  It's a bit for guitar, keys, and two lemurs.

It's a groove tune that goes on for about ten minutes.  Hopefully you will like the groove.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yah, Right

In all my life, I have never seen such a funny religious moment as when the Pope said people should act more like Jesus and American Catholics went berserk over his 'arrogance.'

I'm comforted that the same people who manage Daylight Savings Time are in charge of nuclear weapons ... and they suck at doing that too.

Favorite Snowflake Syndrome of the Day:  Asperger's.  It's a lifetime disability pension and all you have to be is be a huge pain in the ass at work and have middle class or better parents.

And, it had to happen, Justin Bieber is now a victim of his riches.  Affluenza isn't just for the lowly middle class anymore:  Lawyer Calls Bieber a Casualty of America's "Pathology About Celebrities"

Apparently the people who talk so much about autism never read "Childhood's End" but the way it is increasing shows it won't matter much longer now.

Malaysia Airlines said there is still no trace of their aircraft.  Moreover, they don't know where it was or where it was going.  They denied Sean Connery was flying it.

(No-one got that on Facebook)

Malaysia Airlines said they still cannot find their lost aircraft but they think they have a pretty good lead on Amelia Earhart.

(That one they got)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


I'm not dead.  I'm just not much interested in online.  There was a time when it was interesting and exciting ... and then came Facebook which is as predictable as Republican sex.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

"Groove Thang" and Music in the Circus

"Groove Thang" is something that was recorded while playing for Cat on Thursday and it's available for free now on the Ride the Dragon podcast.  Cat calls it 'ambient' and that works fine for me as I don't have a good name for it.

So that was the first tune and immediately after it I did one with twelve or thirteen chords.  The one with three or four chords is much more 'transcendental' to play as there is freedom to play in more directions.  Maybe in some way there is the thinking that if you find the perfect jam then you don't have to come back.

There was a science fiction story quite some time back and it focused on the 'perfect melody' as this would be music so beautiful that you would not be able to stop listening to it.  I'm sorry I don't recall the title but it was an interesting idea for a story.  Cyril Kornbluth's name jumps into my head as the author but that's a very hazy connection.

Earlier in the week, Untolerable Bohemian had a bit of a plane crash in his show but it turned out not to be such a terrible thing.  He came out of it and started doing Bo grooves which he does very, very well.  This is very thoughtful lead guitar that's not at all played to impress.  He looks for the same type of transcendentalism I want to find and what takes him there is his willingness to take chances as there is no way to get there if you don't.

lefty Unplugged did a set in which he took one of his songs and added a huge bit to it that was highly-introspective and beautifully done.  I've had the feeling lately that his focus has been to perfect the crafting of the songs he has already written but this time he took an existing song and decided to go way off the wall with it.  This kind of risk-taking is why Cat's circus is such a fascination to me.

Laralette Lane played the show before mine on Thursday and her act isn't about risk-taking but rather it's sending a Lara love vibe out to the world.  Her act is similar in that way to that of Joaquin Gustav as neither seeks to change the world but making some part of it a bit nicer would be very good.  She's going to do it by singing or laughing ... or, most likely, both.

Joaquin Gustav played last night but I'm sorry to report I missed the show.  I thought there was a pretty strong chance I would miss Voodoo as well but luckily got back right at the top of the hour.  I can't give you a good report on the show as there was a lot of visiting happening at the Rockhouse but  what I can tell you is that he has a new one called "Kon Tiki" and I'll be listening for that next time.

I said at one point in the show that I thought Voodoo's play was impeccable.  He laughed at the idea of that as he knows as well as anyone that everyone makes mistakes.  If you listen carefully, maybe you will hear a mistake once in a while ... but you'll also hear it followed by some type of recovery and that's the genius.  So I stand with my estimation of impeccable.

One of the reasons I was so enamored of orchid photography was in whether anything is really perfect.  What I learned for sure from that is looking at anything for long enough will reveal an imperfection.  If you keep looking past that, it will fall apart entirely.

So, if you missed the show then you can't buy the recording as Voodoo only sells them to whomever is in the audience.  If you want to hear "Kon Tiki" then you'll have to come to the next show.

Here's a brief gushy plug.  Lately Voodoo has been playing "Elephant Strut" and he segues from that into "The Littlest Elephant."  The Strut is featuring one huge elephant as it's a thunderous bit but the littlest elephant isn't big enough for thunder yet and it's a very delicate piece.  The combination is magical.

How About a Colt .45 Wedding

When you see a girl in the street in a wedding dress, wearing cowboy boots and holding guns ... yep, you're in Texas.

Cadillac Man was in town and seeing that was one of the many ways in which his philosophical perspective on Life, the Universe and Everything was changed.  He said to me, "I thought I wanted a woman but what I really want is a woman with guns."

Yes, ladies, a woman with guns is sexier.  There are two things we know if you already have guns.  We don't have to pay for the guns as you already have them.  If we need anybody killed then you can do it.

Man, I think I'm getting turned on by the idea too.

Oh, oh, oh, you're my Colt 45 Baby
I really love your guns
Let's go find some wetbacks
and we'll really have some fun.

(Ed:  how much of this did Cadillac Man really say?)

That'd be zero, Clamthroak.  He really did come to town, tho.

There was a brief appearance from the Reverend Silas T Sasquatch in which he spoke about his love of cows.

And Willie Nelson will be coming to Billy Bob's on the Fourth of July.  Welcome to Texas!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lemur Love is in the Air

I'm proud to introduce Casanova Nilsson and Paprika.  We had hoped they would find love but at first we weren't sure it would work out.

You can see it, she just isn't buying it.  Casanova Nilsson is telling her of all this love but it looks like she knows he has said this before.

But my man persists.  Casanova Nilsson finds Lemur Love with Paprika.

Ms Paprika is now 'with lemur' and she will be introducing their lemur love child to the virtual world on Saturday.

If you're really not clear on crazy, that's when you would seriously go into Second Life to see the lemur birth.

(Ed:  do I need to ask?)

Nope.  I wouldn't mind betting Cat goes in there too.

Schrödinger's Cat ... with a Theremin

Schrödinger's Cat is a big hit on social networks as he's useful when you want to pretend to be a physicist.  I am not a physicist, I just like making noise.

What is really hilarious, if you're a physicist, is that you can put a cat into Schrödinger's box and you would not know if it is alive or dead without opening the box.  Therefore, the cat is effectively alive and dead at the same time.

Yah, yah, that's very clever and maybe it gets you laid at physics conference but we don't care if the cat is alive or dead ... except insofar as it can make noise.  It can also prove space aliens exist.

Before installing the cat, we will first place a theremin inside the box.  The theremin is an instrument that is played by the motion around it with your hands ... or a cat.

After closing the box, the sound of the theremin will continue but observation is not sufficient to determine if the cat is alive or dead.  We know the sound continues but we cannot say emphatically that the cat is alive and the cat is doing it.  The cat may be dead and the sound is being produced by the interference of space aliens.  Thus we deduce that space aliens exist and cats suck as physicists.

We now return you to Bill Nye for some boring crap about evolution that everyone knew already.

All You Need for Ambient is a Synth and a Cat

The way you do this is you set things up for the cat with maybe a three or four chord loop of some type of a string sweep, a sound that will take a long time to fill.  It has to be slow as everything in ambient is slow, soooo slow.

After the loop is running, switch the synth voice to any kind of Ahh voice and then find a cat.  It's best if you find one in-heat as then it will do things to the synthesizer keys that you may not want to watch.

You know how cats do, they won't do any smashing chords like they're trying to be Cat Beethoven.  When they touch something, they have to softly check it out first.  It's a very tentative touch and just the thing we need for ambient.  Think of that cat touch as it comes to a key for an Ahh voice.  It's so benign that it makes Shirley Temple seem aggressive.


Feel your inner child.

Find Heaven.

For the advanced ambient composer, we suggest the addition of a laser.  Any time the red dot from the laser appears on one of the synthesizer keys, the cat will pounce on it.  Repeating this process means the possibility of an ambient cat symphony as the cat jumps back and forth on the keys.

Realize your creative potential.  Get a synthesizer ... and a cat.

(I seriously may have to do this.  It wouldn't hurt the cat and it would be cryin' funny to watch.)

Even in Celebrating Truth the American News Lies - Updated

Liz Wahl, a news anchor for Russia Today, announced on the air that she would quit because she would not support Putin's intervention in Crimea.  (Russia Today is the only news channel of any value to me.  They are soft on Putin or Russian affairs but they are outstanding in coverage of the rest of the world.  American news channels aren't useful for either topic so I watch RT.)

American news channels were all over this story and the 'patriots' started jumping in the air and weeping as they saw the beauty of free speech, particularly if it embarrasses Putin.

What they left out of the story was that Abby Martin led the stand-off on RT against Putin but they didn't give her any coverage as they've already painted her as the Russian propagandist.  The American news channels couldn't show her now as a freedom fighter as that would reveal their original lie.  Even in celebrating truth, the American news networks lie.

Update:  there has been an increasing focus on Martin including an interview with Piers Morgan within recent hours.  It's good to see she gets the respect she has earned.

Here is Abby Martin standing up by herself to speak the truth and this is what started it.  I admire this woman tremendously.

The reaction from RT is calm and I agree with it:  RT reacts to anchor Liz Wahl quitting on air.  Their take is that what Martin did was news and what Wahl did was grandstanding.  Fair enough.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Celebrating Carnival at Cat's Art MusikCircus

America doesn't do much with Carnival and really doesn't do that much with any spiritual time in the year.  Perhaps this goes back to the early American history in which people were very strongly anti-Catholic.  In any case, Carnival in Europe and, obviously, South America is a Very Big Deal.

And so it was at Cat's Art MusikCircus.

The show opened with Deceptions Digital (DD) who did one song she had composed around (I think) lunch time and another one she had composed when she rolled out of bed that morning.  This kind of drive and inventiveness is a beautiful thing and so is her humility.  She had written one piece she said was a tribute to Aldo Brizzi's percussion.  Torben Asp was in the audience and she told him he has been an inspiration to her.

DD said a few times in introducing a song that 'this one is a little weird' but I'd say it's a lot more weird to listen to boring music.  She keeps throwing changes at you, kind of challenging you to follow and, sure, it's weird ... but it's also a great show.

Maestro Michi Renoir played second and he brought some surprises we had never heard before.  The first was a beautifully-expressive flute and I don't recall hearing this particular voice previously.  The really big reaction, tho, came from a human voice.  It was synthesized but this wasn't one of those standard breathy and angelic voices one usually hears.  The voice was so convincing that you could easily believe it was a real woman singing.

Michi was laughing that some of his music sounded like a movie soundtrack but big sweeps will always sound like that.  Those big sweeping chords will also fill a hall so there's no way anyone would want to stop using them.  Say it sounds like a movie if you like but I say it's a very big, rich sound and it was an outstanding performance.

Reis and Aldo played the third set and understatement is just not their style.

Aldo Brizzi is a brilliant composer and there is deep subtlety in his music ... but ... when it comes time to put it on-stage, light up the entire hall.  It's an astonishing spectacle and there are many light shows in Second Life but no others have Reis and Aldo.  (Reis ProjectAldo Brizzi)

I'm not Catholic and wouldn't even make much of a heathen so I really don't know about all the different religious observations in this time.  Cat told me that Ash Wednesday means no-one can even listen to music so visualize, if you will, Rick Moranis going into east L.A. to say, "Hey, homies.  No hip-hop today, ok?  Just for today, Ash Wednesday.  OK, homies?"

It's the most extraordinary thing to hear Reis singing in her delicate, angelic voice over twenty-megatons of percussion from Aldo.  They do some of the most unusual voicings you will ever hear and they deliver it all with such professional precision.  There's hardly ever any delay between songs as they keep them pop, popping all the way through the show.  They're always delightful and they will be back next week.

Aldo Brizzi makes rhythms you won't hear anywhere else and Cat Boucher brings musicians you won't hear anywhere else.  So it is at Carnival at Cat's Art MusikCircus.

(Find more about any of the performers at Cat's Art MusikCircus on Cat's MusikCircus Web site.)

The Illegitimate Lemur Government

Kill Bill said she is the legitimate government and she is keeping the bed.  I don't recommend arguing with her.

(Ed:  Kill Bill is a girl?)

Well, yeah.  You saw the movie, right?

Yesterday I saw mention of a game of soccer for lemurs.  I don't know yet if it really works but it could be hilarious if it does.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"The Choice" - Poem

Now you stand before me,
you broke our strongest law.
You have been open and thinking freely
and now we will reckon the score.

There are two choices we can offer,
which is worse I cannot say.
We will give you death or poverty
but we don't care either way.

You won't make any welfare babies,
you won't complain when we hunt our prey.
You won't waste our time with honesty
as the Good Book doesn't pay.

So make your choice and quickly,
we have no time to waste on you,
your problem is a trifle,
and we've much better things to do.

But, Judge, I do love Jesus,
I'd just like to hear him play.
But I don't like hearing covers,
I hope he has new songs today.

You blaspheme here in God's House
and verily will pay the price.
To us it doesn't matter
as no-one will hear your cries.

This is no House of Jesus
No magistrate was ever Lord.
Don't tell me I'm blaspheming
when your offense was biggest of all.

You asked about death or poverty
but death is no threat at all.
Take my life and free me
from your tawdry shopping mall.

Prisoner, face the Courtroom.
You stand guilty in your crime.
You have committed unlawful thinking
and for this offense you die.

We won't miss you when you're buried,
we don't care about your soul.
Take your guitar one last time
and die with your rock and roll.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Cadillac Man Meets Kincaid's Hamburgers

Kincaid's Hamburgers is a store that was once a little grocery but somewhere along the line they started making hamburgers for their customers.  The hamburgers were so good that eventually the little store didn't sell many more groceries but it sure sold a lot of hamburgers.  Today, Kincaid's Hamburgers is still in that same grocery store and they still make the best hamburgers in Texas ... which is to say, the best hamburgers in the world.

Cadillac Man has been my friend for about forty years and I haven't been extolling the virtues of Kincaid's Hamburgers all that time ... but definitely for at least five or six years.  The immediate question is whether he agreed on my review of the burgers after trying one for himself.

Those are some mighty fine burgers .... and .... they have fried okra.  You can't find anything like that up north and it was cool in that Cadillac Man said his granny would fry okra for him when he was a kid and this tasted just the same.  So, there you go:  the best hamburgers in the Universe ... AND ... they have fried okra like granny used to make.

Part of the discussion last night was around my thinking that the Baby Boomer generation is a complete and utter failure.  We knew the corruption of the military industrial complex in the sixties.  It's not only still there fifty years later, we made it vastly worse.  People don't even talk of getting rid of it anymore but rather I got yesterday a lecture from someone on how to tell whether you're empathetic and this followed immediately on the heels from the same person saying people should be drug-tested before they get welfare benefits.  If they fail, fuck 'em, let 'em starve.  (Yes, of course this was on Facebook.)

Tip to that heartless bitch:  if you have tested positive for cocaine, you can't get a job.  It's easy to sit on your fat, sanctimonious ass and give your royal commandments but the fact remains that many people not only don't have jobs, they can't get them.  (It's not on my account I am angry.  I have never been drug-tested in my life and I have never even been arrested for using drugs.)

More important than any of their mindless political posturing, no-one would even pose the question of cutting people off welfare benefits if such staggering amounts of money had not been wasted on military spending.  Therefore, I conclude the Boomers have completely and utterly failed.  They didn't just lose the budget, they lost the morality behind changing it, and now empathy is nothing but Facebook pose.

Facebook and Fox News are the biggest threats on the planet and for exactly the same reason as both are extremely good at disseminating false news to very large numbers of people.  Facebookers will scream in indignation but the fact remains that Facebook is riddled with false news items regarding current events and also scandalously-bad medical claims (e.g. cancer cures are a dime a dozen on Facebook). There is no more inductive reasoning on Facebook than you would find in the average ant farm.

Cadillac Man is a bit more optimistic about things than that.  Part of his optimism is because his baby girl is about to have a baby of her own.  Lotho crossed that Grampa Line a few years ago so this crew is coming rapidly up on the stage of life in which you can sit on the porch with your old Grampa friends and use your shotgun on anyone who comes up the path to bother you.  (Watch the movie "Secondhand Lions" sometime.  It's wonderful.)

Yevette had met Cadillac Man back at the Cincinnati show but had not seen him in-between.  The three of us have been roaming around in different places, thousands and thousands of kilometers from each other, and then there's a reunion at Kincaid's Hamburgers.  Cadillac Man celebrated with a Cattleman Burger and that is one dangerous sandwich.  I'm not even sure what is in it but that one was definitely for cowboys.  And I'm pleased to report Cadillac Man blew his food calorie budget for a year or so but he said my hype about Kincaid's Hamburgers was fair.  If you're in Fort Worth, give the burgers a try.  This is definitely not your downtown, metal and glass tourist attraction.

So Cadillac Man will have to go off to Dallas to be business-like next week but we'll hang some more today.  There won't be pictures of whizzy tourist attractions as Fort Worth is probably the most ugly-ass city on the planet ... BUT ... it has Kincaid's Hamburgers ... and you don't (laughs).

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Senor Joaquin Gustav Goes to Los Angeles

News from Joaquin Gustav is that he will be flying from Argentina to California and it will be relatively soon.  I imagine he is headed for Los Angeles but I do not know that for sure.

(Ed:  you don't seem to know much)

True enough.  Nevertheless, Joaquin will be getting in the air and you don't get too many chances to get Latin with someone from as far South as you can possibly get.

Perhaps his purpose is business, perhaps music ... unknown.  Here's a sci-fi possibility:  maybe he will get a guitar while he is in the U.S. as it would likely be much cheaper that way (until the airline stabs him for baggage prices).

So, if you're in the L.A. area, you might want to get in touch with Joaquin via IM in Second Life to find out more about what's happening.

Lament for Paco by Voodoo Shilton

Paco de Lucia died a few days ago and he was one of the best flamenco guitarists in the world, ever since the sixties.  His music influenced a great many people and some it influenced a lot, one of them was Voodoo Shilton.  I believe it was only last week that I wrote a little about Voodoo covering one of de Lucia's tunes.  Influence doesn't go far enough, Voodoo was greatly inspired by him.

Last night Voodoo Shilton played a Lament for Paco and it was a tremendously emotional piece.  After it was over, I could hear a little choking in his voice when he tried to speak and Señor de Lucia could not have asked for a more eloquent or heartfelt tribute.

You will hear that from guitarists or at least from good ones at the end of a song in which they can hardly speak, many will laugh even though nothing at all funny has happened.  It's not like going out to fight a dragon but you certainly go out to dance with one.  So it was after the Lament and it was clear that Voodoo feels a tremendous loss over de Lucia's departure.

The favorite way for guitarists to slash themselves is through comparison to others.  What point is there in playing when Paco was so much better.  Am I not just insulting the instrument when I cannot play it like Hendrix.  This is not trivial stuff as guitarists carry it every moment they're breathing.

Paco de Lucia has given Voodoo the finest gift any musician can give another:  the challenge to be better.  The biggest mistake Voodoo can make is to believe the challenge is to be better than Paco, actually the challenge is to be better than Voodoo.  There's no way to be better than Paco, Satriani, or Hendrix as it makes no sense to try to improve a perfect thing.

Voodoo had already accepted the challenge of being a 'better Voodoo' as every week he pushes his music out in new ways, exploring, taking chances, and playing with consummate delicacy.  There is no doubt in my mind that Paco would be proud.